A couple of years ago, the school district of my hometown decided to close the doors of my elementary school for good. If you’ve ever experienced anything like this, you know how surprisingly hard it can hit you. I was a pretty sad girl when I heard the news.
I grew up in a town an hour away from here, not the rural paradise I live in now. So when a kindly woman came to my small-town library with boxes and boxes of books to donate from ‘an old elementary school,’ you could have knocked me over with a breath when I saw that the books were from my old alma mater (can you call your elementary school your alma mater?).
Unfortunately for the masses, these books were too old for use in my library. Fortunately for an avid book collector, they were old enough to be verrrrry interesting. Myself being the book collector, of course. So I went through them. And I found a couple of keepers. The main one being this gorgeous book, The Little Wooden Doll by Margery Williams Bianco. 1) It’s a children’s book. 2) It is about a doll who has been in an attic for a while and is lonely. Kind of like Pooh Bear or Raggedy Ann, this doll is alive. 3) You can see the threads from the cloth binding if you look back at the pic of the cover. In. Love. With that. 4) The doll talks to mice and other toys and animals. 5) Happy ending. 6) It’s in Really Good condition. 7) If you look closely at the next pic, you’ll see the copyright is dated 1925. It’s a little blurry. But it’s there.
So I did quite the happy dance over this little find. I brought it home, placed it in my antique books cabinet and admired it there behind the glass for a few weeks. Then one night all my boys were gone somewhere. I don’t remember where, which is weird since that happens almost never, but all four of my princes were out of the house. And since I was treating myself to all kinds of Lit Mama alone time, I took this treasure book out of the cabinet and snuggled in to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet, fantastical story. Then I came to the end. And you will not believe what I found at the back of the book.
Sure, You can’t read my maiden name on the top line of this lending card, but I can. You can see the K, for sure. And the F3 at the end? My teacher’s initial and grade. So right there, 30 or so years later, was proof that I had read this book in the 3rd grade. This exact copy of this 1925 edition. It was an antique when I read it the first time! I swear, when I saw that card, I lost all my breath. I couldn’t believe it. I know my 3rd grade teacher had a name that started with F and I even recognized my own childish handwriting, but I still couldn’t believe it. Talk about getting goosebumps. I felt like I was talking to myself across the years.
Do you think some small part of me remembered having read this book when I chose it from the boxes that were donated to the library? I can tell you this, at no time since have I remembered reading this book when I was young. But I have the proof. How bizarre is it that a book I checked out of the school library came back to me 3 decades later and ended up part of my personal library? I mean, yeah, if I still lived in that town and purposely went to a book sale to find books I had checked out… Well, the circumstances would have had to have been very specific, wouldn’t they? But by accident? Really?
Things like that really happen in real life. Because magic is Everywhere. Especially when books are involved.
But it will still be light years away from being as cool as my copy. 🙂